NEW LONDON, Conn. - Wheaton College softball freshman hurler Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) tossed a pair of gems during the Lyons' split in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament play on Wednesday. Fifth-seeded Wheaton blanked fourth seed Babson College by an 8-0 count in six innings before pushing top seed and nationally-ranked United States Coast Guard Academy to the end before losing to the host Bears on a walk-off fielder's choice.
Moving to 19-17, the Lyons return to Coast Guard on Friday to play sixth seed Clark University in an elimination game at 2:00 p.m. The Bears, who are ranked fourth in the country by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), won for the 15th straight time to improve to 32-1.
In game one, Baker allowed a pair of harmless singles before retiring the last 11 batters she faced, as she fired a two-hit shutout with one strikeout while facing one batter over the minimum. Offensively, the Lyons pounded out 13 hits, led by sophomore Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional), who went a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBI, two runs and a home run.
Senior Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass./Ayer) was 3-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and a homer, while classmate Nicole DeRosa (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich Academy) had two hits. Senior Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) plated two runs.
Wheaton pushed its first run across on a Babson error in the second before DeRosa and Roy recorded an RBI apiece in the third to make the score 3-0. Salka homered to lead off the fifth, and the Lyons doubled their advantage courtesy a four-run sixth. Hunt delivered a two-out, two-run single and Roy plated Hunt after launching her blast over the right field fence.
Against the host Bears, Baker and Coast Guard junior Hayley Feindel (River Ridge, La.) engaged in a pitcher's duel, as Baker yielded two hits compared to Feindel's one. Feindel fanned 10 of the first 11 batters she faced, as Wheaton sophomore Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) broke up her perfect game with a two-out infield single in the sixth. The run Baker allowed in the seventh went down as being unearned, as the righty finished with one strikeout and a walk in 6.1 frames. Feindel improved to 31-1 after striking out 12 batters.
Neither team had a base runner until the home half of the third, when the Bears put two on following a single and a walk, but Baker escaped unscathed after forcing a fly out and a groundout. After Drury singled in the sixth, Feindel got her final batter of the frame to strike out to end the threat.
Coast Guard notched a one-out single in the seventh and, on the next batter, an infield throwing error placed runners at second and third before the Bears scratched their lone run across on a fielder's choice. On the grounder to first, the runner from third broke for home on contact and beat the throw to give Coast Guard the dramatic win.